"Face Masks Used to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus" by Nurse Together / CC BY-SA 4.0

Ohio now requires masks at religious services in worst COVID counties

Jul 9, 2020

By Darrel Rowland

Everyone attending religious services in Ohio’s hardest-hit COVID counties must wear a mask except the “officiant,” under a new state health order issued Wednesday night.

The unannounced move — the first time the administration of Gov. Mike DeWine has issued a health order directly reaching inside religious gatherings — drew a host of immediate questions.

The first question: Who is an officiant?

Here is how DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney responded: “Each faith tradition has different terms for who presides at a worship service, so we used the word ‘officiant’ to describe that person or persons.”

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